What’s in the glass tonight May 29th – Côtes du Rhône


Leon Perdigal CdR 2016

Off Topic: Léon Perdigal Côtes du Rhône Rouge 2016 – $

Rough and raffish, red fruits, savoury, white pepper tickles the nose.

A simple and enjoyable Rhône rouge. Light red fruits, balanced.

Recommended 86 points.

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What’s in the glass tonight April 10th – Cabernet Merlot


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Bell Bird Bay Cabernet Merlot Hawkes Bay 2011 – $

Raymond Chan writes in his review of this wine, “70% Merlot, 13% Malbec, 11% Cabernet Franc and 6% Cabernet Sauvignon from the Bridge Pa Triangle district”

Deep ruby colour. 13% alc.

Depp fruit aromas, softness, oak, vanilla, somewhat secondary.

The merlot component imbues softness and luscious dark fruits on palate, with structure from the cabernet components. Slight herbiness. Harmonious.

This wine harbours no faults from age or storage which I have found is rare with aged wines at this price point. A great aged example in this case.

Recommended 86 Points

What’s in the glass tonight October 27th – Pinot Noir


Escarpment Kupe 2013

From the Cellar: Escarpment Kupe Pinot Noir Martinborough 2013 – $$$

The flagship Pinot from one of Martinborough’s most experienced winemakers. I have been to many Escarpment tastings, and bought wine following each one. This bottle was one of those, liberated from the cellar to see what development there was after 5 years.

Deep ruby colour. 13.5% alc.

On the nose the wine showed heady, savoury, luscious and dense aromas. There was a subline character to the nose with scents of boxwood, soft red fruit, lanolin, licorice and dark red roses.

The palate told a shorter story: a sweet entry with a bitter finish. It seemed astringent, thin, metallic and hollow. There were red fruit there, but not enough flavour to balance the drying tannins. Finished somewhat long, but it didn’t improve on standing. The nose stayed firm however.

Had this wine “tunnelled”? I have had a couple of disappointing cellar experiences with the Escarpment wines I have bought for the Pool Room, including a Pahi tasted last year. They show so well on release. Had I opened them too early? Or are they not built for the long term? Don’t know, but I have to say I was saddened. I was hoping for this wine to be tremendous. I’ll keep the second one another couple of years and see how it fares.

Recommended 86 points

What’s in the glass tonight April 11th – Pinot Noir


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Alexander Dusty Road Pinot Noir Martinborough 2011 – $$

Tawny carmine colour. 13.5 % alc.

A heady bouquet – floral and savoury. Dark red fruits and spice, and a scent of honeysuckle.

Bright acid on the front of the palate.  Lashings of vanilla. A touch thin and austere. A metallic edge leading to a bitter and hot and spicy finish. An acceptable pinot for the age and price, redeemed by its nose.

Recommended 86 Points

What’s in the glass tonight February 13th – Chenin Blanc


demorgenzon-dmz-chenin-blanc-2016

DeMorgenzon DMZ Chenin Blanc Stellenbosch 2016 – $$

Brilliant pale gold. 14% alc.

A DeMorgenzon Reserve Chenin scored very well in a recent Decanter tasting. This isn’t that one. That one is available for quite few dollars more at my favourite independent wineseller…

This one has a warm and distinctive bouquet with toffee, oaky honey, and citrus notes.

Minerally golden fruit flavours to taste. Slightly crunchy mouthfeel. An off-bitter and dry finish. Simple and lean and quite long.

Recommended  – 86 points

What’s in the glass tonight December 14th – Malbec


monarch-malbec-2013

Monarch Malbec Te Horo 2013 – $

This turned out to be a steal from a supermarket local to this producer, same place as i bought the Abbey Cellars Syrah.

Inky plum colour. 13% alc.

Quite perfumed, dense & fruity, savoury & spicy, and oaky. Some green vegetal character.

Sweet in the mouth on attack. A cool climate style of Malbec showing florality and some green stalk but very pleasant all the same. Good fruit weight and depth, angular and piquant. A tannic and raspy finish.

Seemed very ripe-pinot-noir-like to my palate. Off quite young vines I suspect. Would have scored higher but the wine is a bit green. Still, an impressively expressive character for the low price.

Recommended – 86 points

What’s in the glass tonight August 31st – Chardonnay


Saint Clair Chardonnay 2014

Saint Clair Family Estate Chardonnay Marlborough 2014 – $

I normally walk right past this supermarket value wine. But, this time the bottle bore a Silver Medal from the 2016 Royal Easter Show. Which means it’s got to be over 85 points. So into the basket it went…

Pale straw. 13% alc. From fruit out of the Wairau Valley.

Sweet ripe fruit, lemon, clean and clear, simple on the nose.

Sweet entry, good body and ripeness on the mid-palate. A refreshing acid finish. All in moderation, and over, moreish. Finely textured. Quite yummy.

86 points

What’s in the glass tonight July 21st – Syrah


Te Mata Estate Syrah 2015

Te Mata Estate Syrah Hawkes Bay 2015 – $$

Another Syrah! I’m on a roll.

This is the Estate model, a bit of a step down from the Bullnose Rhone-ster. This will be a young wine, fresh off the boat, so I would expect a tannic edge, and a touch of metallic flint…

…and no surprise. Dark garnet. The florality is lifted by 2% Viognier in the blend. 13% alc.

Soft red cherries and underripe blackberries on the nose, not too lifted or exemplary, a bit green. Tannic and lean to taste, there is some fruit there, and needs vigorous decanting to show its best side. It doesn’t grow in the glass, and for me, is not as accomplished as earlier vintages were.

86 points.

What’s in the glass tonight June 24th – Shiraz


Red Sky Shiraz 2014

Off Topic: Red Sky Wines Shiraz Barossa Valley 2014 – $

A red sky at night usually means good weather. But not necessarily so in the Barossa. A red sky heralds that a dust storm is on its way, rolling in from the Australian Outback. This process has been building the soils of the Barossa Valley for thousands of years. The wind pitches the soils here and there, creating pockets of varied terroir throughout the region.

This wine is dark, dark blood red, edged with scarlet. 14%.

A rich + plumy nose, warm oak and vanilla, with a sharp edge. This is no Rhone wannabe.

There is a smooth ripe entry on palate. Plums and prune and cocoa. Spicce on the back palate. Drying tannins towards the finish, bookended with acid. 86 points